Do you have a child who becomes anxious or oppositional when faced with transitions, such as beginning a new school year? Although everyone experiences anxiety as a normal response to dangerous or novel situations, some people can become overwhelmed during stressful times, experiencing rapid heartbeat, body aches, dizziness, sweating, shaking, sleeping problems and/or difficulties concentrating. Children who act angry, defiant or willful are often suffering with anxiety problems as well.
Adult anxiety mirrors the same behaviors. Most individuals become anxious when faced with stressful situations and for some of us, these apprehensions become debilitating. A recent study shows that over 40 million Americans have some sort of anxiety disorder1.
Improving one’s executive function skills is a proven way to reduce anxiety. Children especially thrive on structure and organization in their academic lives and at home. By instituting a system for documenting obligations (such as a to-do list or an assignment notebook) as well as consistent procedures for organizing time (such as monthly calendars), you and your child can both rest assured that you aren’t missing any important obligations. Additionally, by practicing strategies to improve written language, parents can write emails, letters and memos that clearly and concisely convey their thoughts and ideas. Likewise, children who learn and institute structures of organized writing are less likely to become overwhelmed when assigned essays, research projects and term papers.
We would love to hear what techniques you have found helpful for reducing anxiety in yourself or your child.